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2009 National Women's Conference
21 October 2008
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is a new public body which is being created with the intention of preventing unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. From October 2009, all individuals working or volunteering with vulnerable adults or children will be required to register with the ISA. This will affect over 11 million people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland an aligned scheme is being set up under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) (Scotland) Act 2007. Proposals on the implementation of the PVG legislation will be consulted on in late 2008 and it is expected to be very similar to the ISA scheme.

Conference notes that there are enormous implications for UNISON members. Many members will be required to register, and there is a proposed flat rate fee of £58 (Northern Ireland) and £64 (England and Wales), with no commitment to the cost being met by employers.

Service provision may also suffer, with some individuals choosing not to work in organisations that require ISA registration because of the cost implication. This could negatively impact on the support and services providing to vulnerable groups. If employers are forced to pay, this may mean cuts in services to fund the additional costs.

Conference believes that employees should not have to pay for an additional registration, especially as many already have professional registration for which they pay fees. The majority of individuals who will come under the ISA scheme are women, many work part-time and a large number are low paid workers. It is unacceptable that they should bear this extra charge.

Conference calls on the National Women’s Committee to work with the wider union to campaign to ensure that women workers and women users of public services do not lose out due to the charges that may be imposed through the introduction of the ISA, particularly:

1)That the registration cost should not be borne by employees;

2)That the ISA should not duplicate existing or new registration schemes.

Conference further calls on the National Women’s Committee to work with the wider union to run a recruitment campaign around the ISA, urging non members to join UNISON to campaign to ensure that jobs and service provision are not affected.